January 6th, 2013

wss cool knees by skybound2

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Jets, Sharks and Paris

By JAN BENZEL


PARIS - You could call it "West Side Story" red. For fans of the musical - on Broadway, on film, on vinyl - the color of the posters splashed through the Metro is instantly identifiable, an announcement all by itself that the celebrated Bernstein-Robbins-Sondheim-Laurents musical is in town.

This is Paris, not New York. The show is at the Théâtre du Châtelet, not on Broadway. The company producing it is German, not American. And, while the orchestra strikes fresh in each performance the bold notes and aching melodic beauty of Leonard Bernstein's score, above and on either side of the stage, surtitles provide the Sondheim lyrics and Arthur Laurents libretto in French.

"West Side Story," which had its Broadway premiere in 1957, can't help but be an encore, and the current staging at Châtelet is an encore itself. Jean-Luc Choplin, the director of the theater, introduced the musical in the theater five years ago, on the 50th anniversary of the show. It was one of several American musicals he has staged since 2006, his first season at the Paris theater.
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